“Mental Health Is Our Sport”: Improving mental health literacy of sport coaches in diverse communities across Canada

Coaching Association of Canada

Mental Health Is Our Sport

Increasing mental health literacy among coaches, teachers and community sport leaders working with marginalized and underrepresented communities.

The aim of this project is to increase mental health literacy among coaches, teachers and community leaders working with sport participants, including those in remote, Indigenous, and economically disadvantaged communities as well as newcomers to Canada, persons with disabilities, and Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. The Coaching Association of Canada is working with a network of partner organizations, including the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport, to support coaches across the country with access to education and resources. The project will update and adapt existing mental health content in educational training modules for these communities and create an online Mental Health and Sport Resource Hub – a free, online portal of mental health resources from subject matter experts. New resources will be added regularly and will include eLearning modules, infographics, activities, research papers, videos, and workshops on various topics related to mental health. Between the various activities and the Resource Hub, the project is expected to reach up to 2,540,000 coaches across Canada.

Lead organization: The Coaching Association of Canada


Diverse coaches, in all levels of sport, and in all provinces and territories, especially those in:

  • Remote/rural communities
  • Indigenous communities (when and where welcomed)
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities
  • Communities with Newcomers to Canada
  • Schools
  • The Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services

Children, youth and adults who participate in sports across the country, under the supervision of trained coaches.



  • To increase mental health literacy among coaches, leading to improved coaching support and the mental health of coaches.
  • To improve functioning, performance, and mental health of individuals who frequently interact with coaches (participants, staff, significant others, coworkers, family, and friends). 


  • Update and adapt existing mental health educational training modules for specific identified communities.
  • Create an online Mental Health and Sport Resource Hub – a free, online portal of mental health resources from subject matter experts.
  • Strategically promote the educational content and national resource hub to new and diverse audiences across Canada.




  • Communities
  • Online
  • School

Implementation sites

  • National


  • Sport and sports coaches play a key role in many communities, including those that have been most affected by COVID-19.
  • Improving the mental health literacy and self-care of coaches is a practical solution to improve mental health and wellbeing in these communities.
  • Updated coaching education materials will reflect the needs of these communities (i.e., trauma-informed, culturally safe, languages). By improving the accessibility of project resources, CAC hopes to reach a wider range of coaches and communities, particularly those who were most affected by COVID-19.


In the words of the project team members

“Coaches are often a role model or a safe adult for a lot of sport participants and athletes, so they’re in a position to have a positive impact. But they don’t always have the training or confidence to have conversations about mental health or to create an environment that fosters positive mental health.”

Key protective factors

  • Mental health literacy
  • Supportive relationships
  • Community involvement

Key approaches

  • Trauma-informed
  • Culturally safe